Top government officials are set to tour the Sh3 billion Kisumu port this week to conduct inspection ahead of its commissioning.
While the government has not announced a new date for the commissioning of the project connecting East African countries and the Great Lakes region, sources have indicated that the roll-out of operations is just around the corner.
The facility, which was initially scheduled to start handling cargo on August 15, is projecting to handle more than 95,000 tonnes of goods in the next three years as the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) seeks to restore the once vibrant transport hub.
This will be a major boost for the port which was established in 1901 as it only moved a paltry 13,500 metric tonnes of cargo last year.
Cabinet secretaries, including Trade’s sec Peter Munya, Adan Mohammed of East African Community and Devolution’s Eugene Wamalwa are scheduled to tour the port this week.
They will be accompanied by line principal secretaries as well as the Kenya Railways Corporation MD Philip Mainga and his Kenya Ports Authority counterpart Daniel Manduku.
“We also expect to have President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga to the lakeside city as we make final preparations ahead of official commissioning,” said a source privy to the plans.
Some of the works already done at the port include safeguarding of link roads to the port, installation of cargo handling equipment, concreting of the port yard, rehabilitation of the dry dock and unveiling of the 1,000-tonne, 91-metre long cargo carrier, MV Uhuru.
President Kenyatta in July turned on the engine of MV Uhuru and rode on its tugboat as he inspected the ongoing works.
MV Uhuru is one of East Africa's biggest cargo vessel that broke down 13 years ago and is set to resume expeditions to Uganda and Tanzania ports.
Mr Manduku, while indicating that the port is ready to roll out operations, said they are awaiting regional heads of State to confirm availability before announcing official opening. President Kenyatta was supposed to be accompanied by other regional presidents, including Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, Tanzania’s Pombe Magufuli and DRC’s Felix Tshisekedi in the August launch.